When travelling, accommodation is one of the biggest expenses apart from your plane tickets and food. The good news is that you do not need to be a serial backpacker or spend your life savings to enjoy your trip. As air travel became more affordable, the growth in the number of budget hotels or hostels has made travelling more convenient and economical.
Why Stay in a Hostel?
Initially, hostels started out in Germany as temporary housing for students who needed affordable accommodations during field trips. Hotels and hostels have huge differences not only in size, price, and luxury of rooms but also in its inherent culture. Backpackers choose hostels for a number of reasons.
The culture of sharing is apparent in budget hotels. All common areas such as the lobby, kitchen, and entertainment rooms are accessible to all guests. Beds are common in dormitory-type rooms with shared toilets. You only pay a fraction of the room accommodation if you just prefer to pay for bed space, which is ideal for long-term or short-term stays. Privacy can be an issue when staying in a hostel, although you can still get a private room at minimal costs.
Most hostels offer activities such as city tours or music shows for free or for a minimal fee when participated by a group. Sharing a room with strangers gives you an opportunity to learn other languages and culture.
How to Find the Best Budget Hotel
When looking for a budget hotel, consider the following: amenities, security, location, and price. Aside from the usual hot and cold shower, linens, Wi-Fi connections, and kitchen services, you may also want to inquire about complimentary breakfasts, organized activities, and airport transfers. Depending on the price, you can choose air-conditioned or fan-only rooms. Check if the hostel accepts credit card payments especially if you are travelling to developing countries.
Security is a major concern both in low-cost accommodations and luxury hotels. If you are unfamiliar with the area, it would be best to stay in the downtown areas or near the airport. Ask the tourist assistance office for recommended hostels or do a quick web search for hostels with positive reviews. If you intend to stay in rural areas, scout for accommodations near the road or community centres.
Other Types of Budget Accommodations
Aside from hostels, alternative options include Couchsurfing, Global Freeloaders, and Stay4Free and they provide lodging for members from different parts of the world. You need to successfully pass a verification process, which can be done through online feedback, credit card, or recommendation letter from a friend or relative, to ensure the safety of the host and the guest.
For first timers, you might feel weary or uneasy sleeping in someone else’s home thinking about your safety. If you want an extra layer of protection, you can avail backpacker travel insurance that covers accident, lost or damaged baggage, and hospitalization or medication expenses.